While sitting in a squad bay listening to a core values discussion aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., Anthony Cuchens Jr. thought the ambush his senior drill instructor was describing sounded familiar.
Sgt. Nicholas Lanier was telling his recruits about the day he lost his friend and former roommate to sniper fire in Haditha, Iraq in 2006. As details emerged, Cuchens said he felt chills run through his body — he knew this story.
That’s when the new recruit, still in phase one of boot camp, stood up and asked his DI if the name Lance. Cpl. Daniel Chaires meant anything to him. Lanier told him to shut his mouth, and then asked how he knew that name.
“He’s my cousin, sir,” Cuchens told him.
That connection struck Lanier, and when the recruits cleared out to go to chow, he said he stood in the squad bay and bawled his eyes out.
Cuchens, a private first class who graduated from boot camp on Feb. 1, said his cousin inspired him to become a Marine. And when Lanier alerted other members of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, who were with Chaires on that deployment, they were also moved.
They began making plans to attend Cuchens’ graduation. Since Chaires couldn’t be there to welcome the new Marine to the fold, they would be.
This is a story about the brotherhood of the Marine Corps. It’s about Marines stepping up years later to be with the family of a fallen brother, and how a brand new private first class hopes to finish what his cousin couldn’t.
Pick up this week’s issue of Marine Corps Times to read the full story, or access it online here.
Also in this issue: quick-drying, jungle-friendly tropical uniforms coming soon; next year’s pay chart; and how budget cuts could hit your base gym.